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Language Acquisition 3: Grammar in Writing


Admission requirements

A pass for Language Acquisition 1: From Scratch to Print, or a similar academic-writing course. Preferably, you have also taken Linguistics 2: The Syntax of English.


‘Language Acquisition 3: Grammar in Writing’ is a course set up to acquaint students with the manifold functions of grammar, with a focus on how grammar functions in writing. The course focuses on both theory – introducing students to the core tents of Functionalist and Usage-based approaches to the study of language – and practical skills (building on the practical skills the students have already acquired in the first-year course ‘Language Acquisition 1: From Scratch to Print’).

This second-year course provides a more in-depth understanding of grammar in usage. The course focusses on the denotations, connotations and functions of grammar, but we will also touch on matters of lexis, spelling and punctuation, introducing students to matters of register and style.

Each week, the lecture covers a topic from traditional and functional English grammar (e.g. tense and aspect, complementation, or word order). This knowledge will be practiced in tutorial with exercises and short writing assignments that you have prepared at home. Students are actively encouraged to think of grammar usage (of native and non-native speakers of English) as a research area.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, you will have acquired a sound knowledge and understanding of English grammar and English grammatical terminology (which will come in handy if you are considering a career in editing, teaching or translation). Besides being able to apply that knowedge when you write texts in English, you will also have been introduced to the basics of functionalist theories of grammar, including Functional Grammar and Cognitive Grammar.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • One lecture per week. The evening students follow these lectures online (weblectures).

  • One tutorial per week.

Assessment method


  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice) and short open questions.

  • Weekly analysis and writing assignments (coursework).

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:

The final mark of the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements. These additional requirements entail the following:

  • the written examination should be passed with a mark of 6.0;

  • the homework assignments were completed and submitted on Brightspace before the set deadlines. The homework assigments should be passed with a mark of 6.0.


  • 3-hour written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice) and short open questions (70%)

  • Students will be asked to complete take-home assignments every week (coursework). In three randomly chosen weeks, the assignments will be marked (30%)

Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.


If the result of the written examination is below 6.0, the exam has to be retaken. This resit (written examination with closed questions and short open questions) will constitute for 100% of the final grade, thus replacing all previously earned marks. Please note that there is no resit for the weekly assignments.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Reader: Grammar in writing: Texts and assignments for Language Acquisition 3. [available through Brightspace]

At least one of the following textbooks should be purchased:

  • Swan, Michael. (2016). Practical English Usage. Fourth Edition. Oxford: OUP. [Advanced Learner’s Grammar; focus on foreign-language learners but not contrastive with Dutch]

  • Foster et al. (2018). English grammar through Dutch eyes. Bussum: Coutinho. [Textbook, Contrastive English/Dutch]


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Student administration Arsenaal